Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, cheers while waiting to march in the Vancouver Pride Parade with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, left, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, centre, in Vancouver, on Sunday August 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Three federal leaders march together at Vancouver Pride

Conservative Andrew Scheer was the only one missing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau extolled on the importance of unity as he marched in Vancouver’s annual Pride parade with two of his political rivals on Sunday.

The prime minister took the opportunity to offer his condolences to the victims of two mass shootings that left a combined 29 people dead in Texas and Ohio over the weekend, before he joined NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Leader Elizabeth May on the parade route.

“It’s so important that we all stand together in moments like this,” Trudeau told reporters. ”We’re standing up for human rights, standing up for communities who are marginalized.”

He, Singh and May walked side-by-side for several blocks near the beginning of the parade, surrounded by crowds decked out in rainbow-hued beads and glitter. Trudeau was also joined by his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and their children.

But despite the talk of unity, the prime minister used the opportunity Sunday to take jabs at Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, widely regarded as his top challenger in October’s federal election.

“It’s just unfortunate that there are still some party leaders who want to be prime minister, who choose to stand with people who are intolerant instead of standing with the LGBT community,” he said.

“I really wish Andrew Scheer were here today to pass that message to kids in rural areas who might be suffering bullying, suffering challenges, that we support them right across the board, but I’m here with politicians who do.”

Scheer has so far been absent from the country’s Pride parades, and a spokesperson previously said he didn’t have plans to join any.

And while Scheer’s press secretary Daniel Schow did not acknowledge the leader’s absence Sunday, he defended his party’s track record on human rights.

“Canada’s Conservatives have a proud history of fighting for the rights and protection of all Canadians, including those in the LGBTQ community, at home and abroad,” Schow wrote. ”There are many ways to support these communities, and it is vital that the rights all Canadians are protected regardless of race, gender or sexual preference.”

READ MORE: #Loveislove: 41st annual Pride Parade kicks off in Vancouver

But May and Singh both echoed Trudeau’s concerns about Scheer’s absence, with the former saying that Pride celebrations are an expression of some of Canada’s core values: empathy and inclusion.

“The Conservatives weren’t there. Their complete boycott of Pride parades is disturbing. But I want to concentrate on the positive,” May said. “This is not about partisanship. This is about who we are as a country.”

Singh added that when leaders march together at Pride, it’s a show of solidarity with Canada’s queer community.

“But we need to go beyond that to make sure policies also celebrate people,” he added, pointing to restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with other men.

The NDP have also promised a national action plan to ban so-called conversion therapy for minors in Canada, according to a statement from Singh on the day of the parade.

Later on Sunday evening, Trudeau was expected to address supporters at a Liberal fundraiser in Surrey, B.C., that required a $500 donation to attend.

Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elevators back in service at Royal Inland Hospital

Repairs were completed a week earlier than expected

‘Critically low’ caribou population prompts wolf cull in the Chilcotin

Itcha-Ilgachuz herd numbers down to 385, from 2,800 in 2003

Gilbertson ready to step down from organizing Barriere’s Walk For Alzheimer’s

By Margaret Houben Liz Gilbertson has been chairing the Barriere and Area… Continue reading

Don’t fall for scammer who says, “Your Windows license is expiring”

They explain you need to upgrade your operating system if you want your computer to keep working

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Most Read